One in seven persons across the U.S. seeks food assistance, according to a report from Feeding America.
Religious institutions were the third largest giving group, by comparison, with almost 16 percent of agencies receiving more than half of their total funding from them.
Its report, Hunger in America 2014, said that the Feeding in America network provided food to 46.5 million people of whom 12 million were children and 7 million were senior adults.
The majority of the network (62 percent) are faith-based agencies.
Despite the significant need, many affiliated agencies reported having to reduce services in the last year.
Among the faith-based groups who did so, 65 percent expressed some concern about being able to continue their feeding efforts in the next year. This, despite the fact that only 32 percent of faith-based agencies employ paid staff.
Lack of funding was a primary area of concern for 55 percent of all agencies, and 49 percent of all agencies employed paid staff.
Highlighting the importance of individual giving, the report noted, "the most common source of funding for partner agencies is individual contributions, with 85 percent of agencies receiving some level of funding from this source and 28 percent of agencies relying on it for more than half of their total funding."
Religious institutions were the third largest giving group, by comparison, with almost 16 percent of agencies receiving more than half of their total funding from them. Government funding came in second at 18 percent.
The report highlights the significance of faith-based organizations in feeding the hungry, revealing the social capital or positive community impact that they offer.
In a series of articles appearing in May 2014, EthicsDaily.com asked six pastors from across the U.S. to highlight some of the ways their congregations bring social capital to their communities.
Four of the six mentioned feeding ministries, and all six congregations are involved in providing food to the hungry.
An executive summary of the Feeding America report is available here, and the full report is available here.